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Centaur

Mythological monster
by

jerry mont

on 15 April 2010

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Transcript of Centaur

Centaurs In Greek mythology, the centaurs (from Ancient Greek: - Kéntauroi) are a race of creatures composed of part human and part horse. In early Attic and Boeotian vase-paintings, as on the kantharos illustrated below left, they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be. This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.
The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins. Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, Mount Pholoe in Arcadia and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.
In Greek mythology, Chiron (also Cheiron or Kheiron) (Greek: Χείρων; "hand") was held as the superlative centaur among his brethren. Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Each Centaur was also wild and lusty. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind. He was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. Chiron Chiron's haunts were on Mount Pelion; there he married the nymph Chariclo who bore him three daughters, Hippe (Melanippe or Euippe), Endeis, and Ocyrhoe, and one son Carystus. A great healer, astrologer, and respected oracle, Chiron was said to be the first centaur and highly revered as a teacher and tutor. Among his pupils were many culture heroes: Asclepius, Aristaeus, Ajax, Aeneas, Actaeon, Caeneus, Theseus, Achilles, Jason, Peleus, Telamon, sometimes Heracles, Oileus, Phoenix, and in some stories, Dionysus. According to Ptolemaeus Chennus, quoted in the Library of Photios of Constantinople, Dionysius learned chants and dances, the bacchic rites and initiations from Chiron. According to an archaic myth he was sired by Kronos (Cronus) when he had taken the form of a horse and impregnated the nymph Philyra, Chiron's lineage was different from other centaurs, who were born of sun and raincloud, rendered by Greeks of the Classic period as from the union of the king Ixion, consigned to a fiery wheel, and Nephele ("cloud"), which in the Olympian telling Zeus invented to look like Hera. More recent tellings hold that Chiron's peaceful characteristic and intelligence unlike other centaur is because he is taught by Apollo and Artemis at his younger days.
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